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Pea vs Lentil - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Tatevik  Stepanyan by Tatevik Stepanyan | Last updated on November 29, 2020
Education: Food Blogger
Pea
vs
Lentil

Summary

Peas and lentils both have many valuable features and are widely used. It is difficult to state which one is better and more useful conclusively.

Peas are richer in vitamins, while lentils are relatively higher in minerals. They both have various health-beneficial qualities.

Ultimately, the final choice is up to the consumer’s preferences.

Introduction

From ancient times legumes have been a staple food for many cultures worldwide. Today, we still use many legumes very frequently and even daily.

Two of the most popular legumes are peas and lentils. They are very similar to each other but at the same time very different. Many recipes use peas or lentils to add a unique taste and texture. The most common use of them is boiling.

Nutritional Content

Macronutrients

Lentils are significantly denser in nutrients, being richer in protein and carbohydrates due to high amounts of both sugars and dietary fiber.

Unsurprisingly, lentils also provide more calories than peas.

The two legumes contain similarly low amounts of fats.

Vitamins

Peas are undoubtedly the winner in this category, being richer in fat-soluble vitamins, as well as vitamins B1, B2, and B3.

Peas contain 96 times more vitamin A, 27 times more vitamin C, and 15 times more vitamin K.

Lentils, however, are richer in vitamin B5 and vitamin B9 or folate

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Pea
7
:
3
Lentil
Contains more Vitamin A +9462.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +18.2%
Contains more Vitamin C +2566.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +57.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +80.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +97.2%
Contains more Vitamin K +1358.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +513.5%
Contains more Folate +178.5%
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.178
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 46% 3% 0% 134% 67% 31% 40% 7% 39% 49% 0% 62%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 3% 0% 5% 43% 17% 20% 39% 42% 136% 0% 5%
Contains more Vitamin A +9462.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +18.2%
Contains more Vitamin C +2566.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +57.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +80.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +97.2%
Contains more Vitamin K +1358.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +513.5%
Contains more Folate +178.5%
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.178

Minerals

Contrastingly, lentils are a better source of minerals, being richer in iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper and lower in sodium.

Instead, peas contain more calcium.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Pea
1
:
7
Lentil
Contains more Calcium +31.6%
Contains more Iron +126.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +66.7%
Contains more Potassium +51.2%
Contains less Sodium -60%
Contains more Copper +42.6%
Equal in Magnesium - 36
Equal in Zinc - 1.27
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 8% 56% 24% 47% 22% 1% 34% 59%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 6% 125% 26% 78% 33% 1% 35% 84%
Contains more Calcium +31.6%
Contains more Iron +126.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +66.7%
Contains more Potassium +51.2%
Contains less Sodium -60%
Contains more Copper +42.6%
Equal in Magnesium - 36
Equal in Zinc - 1.27

Health Impact

Peas and lentils are perfect legumes to use as part of a healthy diet. They are not only tasty but also full of health-beneficial qualities.

Firstly, about the benefits of peas:

  • Cancer prevention
    The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eating peas and lentils frequently to lower the risk of colorectal cancer (1).
  • Improving the immune system
    Thanks to the high level of antioxidants, peas can improve our immune function, reduce inflammation and ameliorate obesity (2).
  • Blood sugar regulation
    Due to a high amount of fiber, peas can slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream.
  • Heart disease prevention
    The folate contained in peas can reduce homocysteine levels which cause heart disease (3).
  • Healthy bones
    It contains vitamin K, which helps anchor calcium inside the bones.
  • Reduces cholesterol
    It helps reduce the production of cholesterol while increasing HDL or “good cholesterol” levels (4).

No fewer benefits have lentils.

  • Cancer prevention
    As previously mentioned, lentils, along with other pulses, can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer due to a high amount of dietary fiber (1).
  • Lower cholesterol
    Thanks to the high level of soluble fiber, lentils reduce blood cholesterol (5).
  • Heart health
    Lentils contain folate and magnesium, which play a significant role in heart health.
  • Digestive health
    Research has shown that lentils help prevent digestive disorders (6).
  • Blood sugar regulation
    Like peas, lentils can also stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Increases energy
    Due to their complex carbohydrates, lentils provide slow-burning energy.
  • Lowering blood pressure
    Studies state that lentil-based diets decrease hypertension and large-artery remodeling (5).

References

  1. https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/food-facts/dry-beans-and-peas-legumes/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7915747/
  3. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/6/1448/4729401
  4. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25557982
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24063808
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6724071/
Article author photo Tatevik  Stepanyan
Education: Food Blogger
Last updated: November 29, 2020

Infographic

Pea vs Lentil infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Pea Lentil
Lower in price ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Pea Lentil Opinion
Net carbs 8.75g 12.23g Lentil
Protein 5.42g 9.02g Lentil
Fats 0.4g 0.38g Pea
Carbs 14.45g 20.13g Lentil
Calories 81kcal 116kcal Lentil
Starch g g
Fructose 0.39g g Pea
Sugar 5.67g 1.8g Lentil
Fiber 5.7g 7.9g Lentil
Calcium 25mg 19mg Pea
Iron 1.47mg 3.33mg Lentil
Magnesium 33mg 36mg Lentil
Phosphorus 108mg 180mg Lentil
Potassium 244mg 369mg Lentil
Sodium 5mg 2mg Lentil
Zinc 1.24mg 1.27mg Lentil
Copper 0.176mg 0.251mg Lentil
Vitamin A 765IU 8IU Pea
Vitamin E 0.13mg 0.11mg Pea
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 40mg 1.5mg Pea
Vitamin B1 0.266mg 0.169mg Pea
Vitamin B2 0.132mg 0.073mg Pea
Vitamin B3 2.09mg 1.06mg Pea
Vitamin B5 0.104mg 0.638mg Lentil
Vitamin B6 0.169mg 0.178mg Lentil
Folate 65µg 181µg Lentil
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 24.8µg 1.7µg Pea
Tryptophan 0.037mg 0.081mg Lentil
Threonine 0.203mg 0.323mg Lentil
Isoleucine 0.195mg 0.39mg Lentil
Leucine 0.323mg 0.654mg Lentil
Lysine 0.317mg 0.63mg Lentil
Methionine 0.082mg 0.077mg Pea
Phenylalanine 0.2mg 0.445mg Lentil
Valine 0.235mg 0.448mg Lentil
Histidine 0.107mg 0.254mg Lentil
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.071g 0.053g Lentil
Monounsaturated Fat 0.035g 0.064g Lentil
Polyunsaturated fat 0.187g 0.175g Pea

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Pea Lentil
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
39
Pea
26
Lentil
Mineral Summary Score
31
Pea
48
Lentil

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
33%
Pea
54%
Lentil
Carbohydrates
14%
Pea
20%
Lentil
Fats
2%
Pea
2%
Lentil

Comparison summary

Which food is cheaper?
Pea
Pea is cheaper (difference - $0.8)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Pea
Pea is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Lentil
Lentil is lower in Sugar (difference - 3.87g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Lentil
Lentil contains less Sodium (difference - 3mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Lentil
Lentil is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.018g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Lentil
Lentil is lower in glycemic index (difference - 25)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Lentil
Lentil is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Pea - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170419/nutrients
  2. Lentil - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172421/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.